All That and a Bag of Mail

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I’m writing the mailbag early on Friday morning before we head to Epcot for day seven of the Travis family Disney World vacation. 

So here we go. 

Lots of you Tweeted and emailed this question: why did these quotes from Sage Steele receive virtually no attention in sports media?

Sage Steele said as follows:

“There are times that I believe that we, as African-Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing. The worst racism that I have received [as a biracial woman married to white man], and I mean thousands and thousands over the years, is from black people, who in my mind I thought would be the most accepting because there has been that experience. But even as recent as the last couple of weeks, the words that I have had thrown at me I can’t repeat here and it’s 99 percent from people with my skin color. But if a white person said those words to me, what would happen?”

Think about why the only place you’re reading these comments in the sports media is on Outkick. Why did all the liberal sports media not cover the fact that Sage Steele was called horrible racist names by black people online?

I’ll tell you, the problem here is that we’ve defined racism in this country as only existing from white to black. All other racism is ignored. Black racism, Hispanic racism, Asian racism, white racism towards other ethnic groups, none of it matters except for black to white racism. It’s like American race relations are perpetually stuck in the Civil Rights era. The result is a fundamentally broken way we talk about race in this country.

The reality is this — many black people are racist and feel as if they can never be called racist because the media only covers white to black racism. That’s black privilege, an ability to say anything about anybody and not be called racist. Black people gain power by leving racism accusations even when they’re false. 

The result has been a steady devaluing of the term “racism” among many people of all races. It’s become like the boy who cried wolf. The minute someone says anything that makes a black person uncomfortable, someone screams out racist. Go look at my mentions as an example. If you say anything other than racism is bad, you’re racist. 

Of course, the simple truth is this, if you respond to someone’s factual statement by saying that they are racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic, you’ve actually lost the argument. As a general rule the first person to move beyond addressing an argument to making a personal attack is the loser. That’s almost always left winters in our modern era. 

The media perpeptuates a white people can only be racist against black people stereotype by only chasing down stories of white racism to black people. Nothing else gets covered. Sage Steele is correct with her quotes. Can you imagine the amount of media attention Steele would have received if white people had rained down racial epithets on her online? But black people say the same things to her and no one even even Tweets about it. And I’m the only person who even covers this story in the sports media at all.

Again, I never expected for Outkick to become the most honest source for media in the country, but somehow it’s happened.

Tanner writes:

“As an Ole Miss fan/relatively recent graduate who prides himself on being the “reasonable” fan amongst my friends from school, how should I realistically feel about the impending doom for the Ole Miss football program? I’ve been resigned to the fact that we would have at least a one year bowl ban coming, but now that the actual allegations are out, I doubt that the one year ban and the previously self-imposed scholarship reduction is anywhere close to the end of it. So my question to you is two-fold:

1. What would you predict being the punishment once all is said and done/how much will it affect the win/loss record over the next 5 years?

2. How do you feel about the immunity process offered by the NCAA to former Ole Miss recruits who chose to go elsewhere?

Personally, I expect a coaching change within the next year out of necessity and probably a couple of years of 4-5 wins at best once we’re past what will probably be a two-year bowl ban. We’re not someone like USC or Alabama who has the history or resources to win a lot of games while on probation, especially when you assume recruiting will take a major dip for a couple of years. As far as immunity for former recruits goes, I don’t blame the NCAA for using it or the players for speaking truthfully since they could later face punishment if they’re found to have lied. However, I don’t fully understand if immunity simply means they cannot be punished for benefits they received directly from Ole Miss during their recruitment or if they pretty much have a free pass for the rest of their eligibility for any benefits they may later be found to have received at their current schools. If anyone believes these “student/athletes” chose to go somewhere else strictly for football or education purposes, I’ve got some prime beachfront property in Oxford I’d like to sell them. So please tell me what to expect over the next few years and how to properly cope oh wisest of gay Muslim racist conservative liberals.”

I think it’s likely that Hugh Freeze ends up fired. The NCAA wants to send the message that a head coach is responsible for the assistant coaches on his staff. If Freeze’s argument is accepted — that he didn’t know his assistant was trying to buy at least one player — then why won’t every coach argue this in the future? The NCAA’s goal was to avoid exactly this situation, where a coach can have an assistant breaking rules and then claim that he never knew about it.

Hugh Freeze may not know about it, but what the NCAA is eliminating here is the loophole that would allow assistants to cheat and all coaches to disclaim knowledge when they are caught paying players. Ignorance isn’t going to be a defense going forward. In theory this will mean that head coaches will have to monitor their assistant coaches more aggressively than they do now.


So I expect Freeze to lose his job.

Also, hopefully this starts to kill the fiction of the “great recruiter.” Some coaches and schools are willing to pay more than other coaches and schools and some recruiters are willing to cheat more than others. When Ole Miss went out and signed the number three recruiting class in the nation in 2013 — and Freeze sent out this infamous Tweet — the writing was on the wall — what did Ole Miss do to get those players to campus?

Now, as a practical matter, I’m past pointing at a school and claiming they cheat and others don’t. I think all schools cheat, both in paying players and keeping them eligible once they are on campus.

The NCAA is the equivalent of a traffic cop, pulling over a speeder every now and then in an effort to get everyone else to slow down and be aware that the traffic cops will get you. Only, you guessed it, the rewards for speeding are far in excess of the penalties for being caught. (Which, again, is why the NCAA wants to start going after head coaches).

As for your question, it’s a fascinating one about granting immunity to players in exchange for them narcing on another school. Doesn’t it seem awfully convenient that a player would take over $10,000 from one school and then go to another school? Call me crazy, but who takes money to play football and then takes nothing to play football somewhere else? This would be the dumbest move of all time, right? If you’re willing to take money at one school, you probably got paid more to go to another school.

In this situation a player is basically a double agent, he can take money from a rival program, get them on probation, and then go to a rival school for “free” and end up playing for four years.

As for the long range wins and losses forecast, I’d suspect that over the next 4-5 years that Ole Miss will be around a .500 program.  

Mike writes:

“Yesterday everyone covered Jameis Winston’s choice of words to an elementary school class. I attached the transcript.

“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” Winston said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now, a lot of boys aren’t supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I’m saying? One day y’all are going to have a very deep voice like this [in deep voice]. One day, you’ll have a very, very deep voice.

“But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men supposed to be strong. I want y’all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to.”

Winston later explained his statements:

“I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn’t seem to be paying attention, and I didn’t want to single him out, so I asked all the boys to stand up,” Winston said, according to the newspaper. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”

Now my question: Is Jameis that stupid or does he truly believe he did nothing wrong in Tallahassee? After maybe raping a girl and yelling “Fuck her right in the pussy,” and now saying girls should be silent its just a little odd. Thoughts?”

I’m on the record as saying I think Jameis got away with rape at Florida State. That’s why I find it impossible root for him on the football field. So Jameis is going to be under a microscope for anything he does going forward, justifiably so.

Does this statement likely reflect Jameis’s very conservative, Southern world view? That is, does Jameis believe in fairly strict gender roles? I think so. But that’s not illegal. Plus, the guy is only 23 years old. If he has a daughter one day he might come to speak differently to little girls than he did this week. I don’t think Jameis intended anything malicious here, I think he just gave us a window into how he thinks. 

Now, is Jameis somewhat clueless for making this kind of mistake? Yes. You’d think he’d be coached to treat boys and girls the exact same in settings like these and you’d also think he would be told not to use any language that connects to the rape charges that he narrowly avoided. But, again, I think Jameis just let us see a window into his world view, there’s a role for men and a role for women. That’s different than my own beliefs — I believe in the power of the individual over the expectation of sex, I don’t want anyone to be a bussy regardless of gender — but, again, Jameis’s beliefs aren’t uncommon are illegal. 

But let’s also keep in mind what Jameis is doing here, he’s volunteering his time to speak to school kids during the offseason and encouraging them, the boys at least, to believe they can do anything they put their mind to. What’s more he may very well be speaking to a group of young boys without strong male role models. (Note, I have no idea what the make up of the classroom was, but if he was speaking to an average public elementary school in Tampa there are likely many kids in that group without fathers present at home.)

Furthermore, what’s the likely outcome of crushing Winston here? Jameis probably decides to speak to kids less frequently. Why does he need the headache of having his every comment to a group of kids analyzed?

If you think Jameis can be a positive role model to some of these kids, isn’t the controversy of the comment actually working in a negative direction?

Stewart writes:

“How stupid are these people that are mad at Trump for not “condemning anti-semitism”? Do we really need the President to tell us anti-semitism is bad? Doesn’t everyone with a functional brain already know this is bad? And more importantly, what else does this lead to?”

This is the one of the dumbest trends that has emerged in politics, the idea that the president needs to condemn things that 99.9% of people already condemn.

Do you really think there are anti-Semites out there who are swayed by the president’s condemnation? Like they weren’t really sure whether they hated Jews or not until Trump told them not to hate Jews? News flash: if you’re on the fence about whether or not you hate Jews, you hate Jews. (This goes for any race, religion, sex or ethnic group by the way.)

Sam writes:

“I graduated college less than a year ago, and everyone around me seems to have a strong opinion about our nation’s most recent election. I voted for the Donald, and certain friends and family seem to think a lot less of me due to this decision. On the other hand, my Republican friends have nothing but disdain for liberals/Clinton supporters and blindly support Don no matter what. To me people who 100% embrace conservative and liberal ideologies, without being open minded towards any other ideas or policy, is damaging ignorance.

You’re a strong history buff, has our country ever been this bitterly divided? On both sides it seems like such an “us vs. them mentality” where people define themselves by their politics more than ever and refuse to associate with someone on the other side. I know friendships and relationships that have ended over this election! Is there any possible way you see our country moving on and unifying in the next few years? Are there examples in the past of division like this (nationally) where we moved on?”

Yes, the country has been far more bitterly divided in past years. The gut shot wound of the Civil War makes this present situation look like a paper cut. Even 1968, a year frequently compared with our modern time, is nothing like today. Think about what was happening in 1968 — we were at war in Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement was going at full speed and Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated.

Right now we’ve got a dispute over transgender bathroom rights, our nation’s immigration policies are in dispute, and a president who clearly won the electoral college despite losing the popular vote is unpopular with the side he beat.

Ideologically Trump is the most liberal Republican to be elected since Teddy Roosevelt. 

I mean, these are not major issues and the divisions are not particularly large.

My theory is that these seem like major issues because of the rise of social media, which magnifies any difference, creates media islands, and is designed to create an us vs. them mentality which creates more division. I’m going to expound on this issue next week on Outkick because I have a fully formed media thesis that I think will make sense of all of this to you in a cogent fashion. So stay tuned. 

In the meantime, chill out. 

The stock market is the best barometer of our country’s path and the stock market has so far absolutely loved a Trump presidency. 

Randy writes:

“I’ve been reading you since you were at CBS and numbered every paragraph. Congrats on all your success. Your recent response about taking a sabbatical reminded me of a frequent conversation I have. Do you have a “number”? Meaning the amount of net worth when you will stop working? Or for you does the number mean you can slow down? Or do you just do it for the love of the game and money isn’t a driver?

If you’ve had some success relatively young, the concern about stopping is the fear that one day you won’t have enough money and will feel like a dolt for stopping during the prime years.

I would be interested to hear how your look at this, since I know you bring logic more than emotion to the process.”

I’ve always had $20 million as my number. To me, once you reach $20 million in assets you’ve reached the point where you never have to work again and your family would have generational wealth to inherit. 

I’m not there yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get there now.

Would having that kind of money change how hard I work? I don’t think so, but until you’re there it’s hard to know. 

The thing I might start to pivot to once I hit $20 million is working on longer form ideas. For instance, would I like to go back to writing books instead of writing columns every day on the Internet? Yes, that has some appeal to me. But right now I make so much money writing online every day it’s hard to walk away from to write a book.

But everything on the Internet is disposable. There’s something to be said for the goal of writing a book that will endure for decades as opposed to a column which will pretty much be gone after 24 hours. (The sad truth of Internet writing is that almost nothing has a shelf life of more than 24 hours.) I get emails every week from people who absolutely love my books and just read them. It’s not very often i get emails from people who read a column from even a year ago. 

So what I’d like to do in the years ahead is get back to writing books again and maybe writing online less.

Could I sell a million copies of a book and could it make a huge impact? I think so. But I couldn’t do that while writing every day and doing three hours of radio and also doing a daily Outkick show. So that’s probably the thing I’m going to pivot towards once my $20 million is banked, more long lasting content.

Other than that I think I’m one of the few people in the country who would say his life wouldn’t change very much if he won $100 million in a lottery tomorrow. And that’s a great feeling.

Okay, I’m off to Epcot.

Thanks for reading Outkick and I hope you guys have a great weekend. 

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.